Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the world yet?

Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the world yet?

Summary: Nope. That's the answer you'll get from hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.


Nope. That's the answer you'll get from hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com today, despite the LHC's successful startup tests Wednesday. Of course the fact that you're reading this is also a good sign.

The doomsday site was created by Mike Kania (right), a 28 year old web developer who works for Six Apart in Philadelphia. I tracked him down from a comment he left in the source code and asked him a few questions.

[Ed]  Where'd you get the idea for the site? [Mike] The idea for the website came to me.. well, I don't really know where it came from. I know of a bunch of other similar "single serving sites" that perform similarly useless functions (isitchristmas.com, barackobamaisyournewbicycle.com, stuff like that -- there's a good post listing a bunch of them at kottke.org). I guess I just thought that, with the ridiculousness surrounding the possible "end of the world," it would be funny to create a site that lets you know if the world is ending, in case you missed it somehow. So, $10 for the domain registration and 10 minutes of writing HTML later, there it was. And apparently the new bicycle guy got a book deal out of it, so one never knows what to expect.

[Ed] How long you think we'll have, when the end comes? [Mike] I figure if the Large Hadron Collider does defy everyone's expectations & black hole-ifies us all, it'd probably happen pretty quick. I don't think I'd necessarily have much time to think about much besides maybe "Hey, what's th-

[Ed] Do you think they would tell us? [Mike] Would they NEED to tell us? One would expect the world's end to be relatively noticeable. Then again, I suppose people aren't particularly observant, so who knows.

[Ed] So how does the site detect the end of the world? [Mike] If you look at the source, you'll note that it's using the little-known JavaScript "worldHasEnded" variable to determine whether or not we've all been vaporized. [The site's message will change to "Yup." when that happens.] I'm sure glad the guys at Netscape bothered to put that in there way back when.

[Ed] Are you sure it will work? [Mike] I've done some pretty extensive QA on the site but was unable to duplicate the exact conditions under which the Earth is destroyed. I did think I was pretty close at one point, but it turned out I was just kinda drunk.

[Ed] Do you know who did the site at hasthelhcdestroyedtheearth.com ? [Mike] Yup, we exchanged a few emails actually -- his name is Daniel Drucker. Unfortunately (and weirdly), he's also in Philadelphia, so the websites aren't going to do a great job of providing independent verification of the world's existence -- if he's gone, I'm probably toast too.

[Ed] If the world was ending how would you spend your last few minutes? [Mike] Probably lamenting the things I didn't do, like have a second helping of pie [or another milkshake] -- who needs to worry about looks when the world's ending?

[Ed] Are you really worried the LHC will destroy the world? [Mike] Nah, I think we're pretty safe. Then again, nothing's actually been collided yet (I believe they only fired it up so far with a single beam), so check back with me in October... if we're still around.

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Topics: Browser, Software Development

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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  • Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the world yet?

    That's a pretty funny site. Some amusement in the
    page source too.
    Loverock Davidson
  • Yawn

    This is getting old. Nobody said the LHC would destroy the world when it started up. They said it would destroy the world some years after it created the first micro black hole.

    It's still bunk, but at least debunk it correctly.
    • That's why I asked if they'd let us know

      In James P. Hogan's book "Thrice Upon a Time", an experiment creates a swarm of tiny black holes that sink to the center of the earth, where they slowly start growing. Officials decided not to tell the public about it because nothing could be done.
      Ed Burnette
      • i dont think it matters

        No amount of shouting and writing blogs is going to stop the experiments. If someone makes a miscalculation and we all end up dying becuase of it, at least we can say we went down in a blaze of glory! If there are any aliens out there, maybe we should put up a message on the Hubble saying "we were here first"!
        • "message on the Hubble"? We *really* need better science education. NT

  • what a waste

    Great job in tracking down the guy. What a waste of time to interview him. I haven't learned anything at all from this article.
    • Sure you have

      Obviously there's a shocking lack of end-of-the-world detectors and Something Must Be Done. Having them both in Philadelphia is just asking for trouble, don't you think? And why does Internet Explorer not have this function! Get with the times, Microsoft!
      Ed Burnette
      • What's the point of detectors...?

        What are we going to do about it? Take a deep breath, jump unto the moon and hang on for dear life? We're stuck on the planet..the planet's ultimate fate is ours until we find a way to live without Earth.

        Really, this thing is overblown. Micro black holes are only theorized as a possibility because they are thought to have formed at the moment of the big bang. If they were of consequence back then, we wouldn't be here right now, because the universe would have been sucked into these black holes at the first 'bang'.

        The only black holes I'm going to worry about are the one at the center of THIS galaxy...and the one in my wallet.
    • not a waste

      Oh no, you didn't learn anything from an article. Too bad we aren't allowed to have things around just because they are amusing.
  • RE: Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the world yet?

    I think its pretty stupid that even if there was the slightest chance in the world being pulverized why would you take it because your 'curious' about the big bang. Don't play god.
    • IT

      I am so with you on that. Curiosity kill the cat. (accidental rhyming lol)
      Omg the world is going to end
  • will we die in 2012? Give me an answer!!!!

    Isn't coincidental that the Mayan calender ends in 2012, the same year that if the Hadron Collider messes up it will kill us.
    Omg the world is going to end
    • Why is it that no body considers the size of the calendar?

      It could be that the Mayan calendar ends when it does
      because that's what fit on the stone?

      I have a Calendar I got from a vendor that ends in January
      2009. Should I be concerned about the world ending then?

      Just asking...
  • Don't worry, be happy

    This comic illustrates perfectly just how worried we need to be about the collider when it actually starts doing collisions.

  • Would we know?

    Given that we may have already been sucked into an alternate reality where the laws of physics do not permit the LHC to destroy us by sucking us into another alternate reality that would allow the LHC to destroy us by sucking us into another alternate reality...
  • I would do an iPhone app for $500...

    Mike Kania, now that you did the Web site, the next step is to do an iPhone app for $999.00 - at least you would go in flames a bit richer...
    Roque Mocan
    • They should sell an "End of the world dector" app.

      That'd be awesome. Excuse me I have developing to
      do... :)

      $$$$$$$$$$$$ :D
      • ...too late

        ...too late! Radio Shack already has one.
  • RE: Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the world yet?

    If it had we would know about it. Or rather we would not know about it.
    That fact that we still know what we know is good news.

    Apology to Vice-President of USA.
  • We have already slipped through the black hole

    and are in a different universe.

    Obviously this other universe (and the laws of physics in it) are not very different from the one we have just left, otherwise we wouldn't be here.